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Thread: My solution/workaround to the lack of GPS in OS X

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate natedawgg's Avatar
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    My solution/workaround to the lack of GPS in OS X

    this isn't a new, mind blowing idea but i have never seen it done before so i thought i would add it to NAS. the idea is that first off there is no good native GPS solution available for mac. so for most of us we have to turn to a vm running windows which then runs the gps software of choice. from here you can use spaces to switch back and forth between your music and your gps. this is nothing new. this does pose a few problems though. first off is what if you aren't running leopard and therefore do not have spaces? also what if you do not have some sort of rotary device to which you can map key commands to switch between spaces? what if you are trying to run your vm in fullscreen with the gps in fullscreen and for whatever reason, you cannot get your rotary device to send the correct key command to switch between spaces? Also what if you are running vm/gps in full screen and you get a phone call or for whatever reason need to quickly silence your music? if you cannot tell i have run into each one of these scenarios at one point in time or another, and they all left me wanting a better solution.

    all that being said, i think i have come up with one that solves most (but prob not all) of the problems associated with the scenario's mentioned above.

    at the bottom of the post is an image of what i have come up with.

    what i came up with was the ability for NAS to go into a transparent mode. in this mode all of the system chrome (the window around an app the OS adds, to let you do things like close,minimize,maximize the app) has been removed and the entire app has been shrunk to just the most needed buttons. so essentially the app goes from full screen to less than 1/4 of the screen and becomes transparent. this way you can leave both NAS and your vm/gps setup in the same space ( or just open at the same time if you are using tiger) you can then launch NAS and then launch your vm/gps both into fullscreen mode. while NAS is in full screen mode it would (obviously) cover your vm/gps, but would allow you to select your music and do everything you normally be able to do. from here you can click the "transparent" button and the app will shrink and become, well, transparent. of course NAS doesn't become 100% transparent, but more to about 40%. This is so you can still see the buttons, but you can also see the portion of the map behind the buttons. While in transparent mode, NAS will remain on top of all other windows. NAS is able to be moved by clicking anywhere on the app and dragging it to its new position.

    in the transparent mode you have the prev/next buttons, pause/play button, volume up/down buttons, and a "return" button to return you back to full screen mode. when returning to the full screen mode and then back to the transparent mode, NAS will remember where it was placed while in transparent mode and then return to that position.

    i have been using this in my car for the last week, and i must say it works very well (at least to my standards). it makes it nice for when you don't need gps such as driving to and from work (hopefully you don't need gps to drive to work every day ) and can therefore have the music visualizations running and what not. but then of course when you do need gps to find your way, you can switch to transparent mode, be able to see where you are going, while remaining in control of your music. As i said before it works well for me but is not a perfect solution. the perfect solution would be iguidance being ported to mac and then being released as open source so that i could fully integrate it into NAS (one can only hope and dream ).

    anyway here is how i have my setup configured:

    os: OS X 10.5.6
    front end: NASair
    vm: Virtual Box (its free!)
    gps: iguidance ( not so free )
    rotary: griffin powermate

    i use the powermate to control the selection of music and volume while NAS is in full screen, and then control the volume while in gps. i am also using a script that i wrote in apple script to launch both NAS and virtual box and then make sure that they re-open if they were to somehow crash. i then put virtual box in fullscreen along with iguidance. i can then switch back and forth from gps to NAS seamlessly. also, when in transparent mode, when you click on NAS the dock will appear, which lets you launch/quit any app you want. I like this since when virtual box is in full screen, it is very difficult to get out of that with only a touch screen.

    here is the image. keep in mind this is a very early release and i have made some changes (mostly made the buttons easier to distinguish and click). also this image was taken with my iphone in my car so the quality may not be that great. ok for real this time, here is the image:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here

  2. #2
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Kudos for actually implementing this idea! I've asked for it in several posts over the past couple of years. Glad to see it is working for you!

    So that slightly blurry set of squares are the NASair buttons?
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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    Variable Bitrate natedawgg's Avatar
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    yeah, like i said earlier this is a VERY early build of this feature. it turned out that the buttons in that picture were too transparent and pretty hard to use while driving. Now there is more of a contrast and the buttons are a little more separated. this makes it all much easier to use while driving. it is a very fine line between too transparent and not enough.

    anyway i will upload an update prob tomorrow.
    Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here

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    Is the window full-screen or just the top section of the screen? I'm wondering what happens if you select a button on the GPS app. Does it make the transparent screen go to the back? If so, how do you get to it? Or does it always stay on top?
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate natedawgg's Avatar
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    when in transparent mode NAS will always remain on top, and the app itself shrinks down only to the necessary size to hold all the buttons. this gives you full access to all the buttons and functions of the gps. in the instance of iguidance, you can position the buttons where 95% of the buttons you need to get to are not under NAS. in the event that there is a button in the gps that falls under NAS you can easily drag NAS out of the way.

    here is another somewhat blurry iphone pic of the current view as i am running it right now. as you can see i made the buttons darker just so that you could actually identify which button is which.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here

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    Very cool approach - I may have to dust off the mini that i havent been using and replace my laptop.

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate natedawgg's Avatar
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    yeah i really like it. i have been using now for several weeks, and it really is very functional. i am thinking about adding a couple of items to the transparent view, such as a clock and the current song title. the only problem is balancing too much/ too little info displaying. i think i may make up a settings menu for the transparent view, and let the user select/deselect what items to be viewed in the transparent view. This will let the end user customize the footprint of the transparent view.
    Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate super-fly's Avatar
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    so is this feature integrated into the latest version of NAS?

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate natedawgg's Avatar
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    no not yet. i am about to upload it this weekend. i wanted to get plenty of testing in before i released it.
    Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here

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